Team Sport Athletes Less Likely To Use PEDs

Scottish doping experts have remarked that athletes who are part of a team are less likely to get tempted to use performance enhancing drugs compared to those in individual sports.

The study was led by Dr Paul Dimeo, senior lecturer in sports policy at Stirling University, who investigated if the environment of team sports provided protection from the risk of doping when compared to individual sports’ athletes. This study is published just weeks after Scottish rugby player Sam Chalmers was banned for two years after he was found using anabolic steroids. This study compared the responses of 200 Scottish athletes competing in team, individual, and hybrid sports and was commissioned by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA).

Dr Dimeo said it emerged that the team environment and the sense of belonging to a ‘team’ of some description protects athletes as they fear both the shame of being caught and banned as well as the likely social marginalization that would follow. He added that we also found that there was a perceived distinction between individual and team sports with regard to the pressures influencing athletes to dope, particularly in terms of the influence or otherwise of a coach.

Dr Dimeo added that there was a risk of Scottish athletes unknowingly taking banned performance enhancing drugs due to absence of education and knowledge. He remarked what we found from carrying out research is that many athletes are unaware of what they are taking into their bodies and added a lot of people think that anabolic steroids equal muscles and that’s the only banned substance, but there are several different ways to violate the WADA code like medicine used for asthma can sometimes be a problem. WADA President John Fahey said this study has been very insightful in offering explanations as to why athletes chose different paths.

In another development, Professor of ethics Julian Savulescu, from the University of Oxford, while debating whether athletes should be allowed to use performance enhancing drugs, remarked use of steroids should be regulated rather than imposing a ban. Savulescu said regulation can improve safety and added we should assess each substance on an individual basis and set enforceable, fair, and safe physiological limits. He went on to add that over time the rules of the sport have evolved and they must evolve as humans and their technology evolve and the rules begin to create more problems than they solve. Julian Savulescu added that it is time to rethink the absolute ban and instead to pick limits that are safe and enforceable.

However, hospital doctors Leon Creaney and Anna Vondy disagreed and remarked athletes who wanted to live a healthy existence would be pushed out altogether. They wrote that the argument against doping in sport is moral, not medical and if doping is allowed, the only competition that would matter would be the one to develop the most powerful drugs, and athletic opponents would enter into an exchange of ever escalating doses to stay ahead of each other. They also warned that we might see a return of the state sponsored doping programs of the 70s and 80s in some countries.

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